Wikileaks: Zakaj so akademiki odpovedali in česa se bojijo politiki?

Intervju z Julianom Assangeom v Der Spieglu, ki med drugim pokaže na krivdo tudi (mladih) akademikov, ker se ne lotijo analiziranja ozadja, kako dejansko deluje realni svet v prepletu konkretnih političnih in gospodarskih interesov velikih sil in korporacij. Lažje živijo v svetu spolirane navidezne resničnosti. Podobno velja za novinarje in politike.

SPIEGEL: In October, a book will be published called “The WikiLeaks Files. The World According to the US Empire” for which you wrote the foreword. Do you try to develop the contextualization, the analysis and the counter-narrative which the documents provided by WikiLeaks need?

Assange: Generally there is not enough systematic understanding. This has to do with media economics, the short-term news cycles, but actually I don’t blame the media for that failure. There is a terrible failing in academia in understanding current geopolitical and technical developments and the intersection between these two areas. WikiLeaks has a very public conflict with the United States, which is still ongoing and in which many young people have gotten involved. They suddenly saw the Internet as a place where politics and geopolitics happen. It’s not just a place where you gossip about what happened at school. But where were the young professors stepping forward trying to make sense of it all? Where is the new Michel Foucault who tries to explain how modern power is exercised? Absurdly, Noam Chomski was making some of the best comments and he is now 86.

SPIEGEL: Maybe young professors presume it might not be very helpful for their careers to address this subject because it is highly controversial.

Assange: Exactly. It is inherently controversial. At the same time, the relationships of the major intelligence agencies is a one of the great structuring factors of the modern world. It is the core of non-economic relationships between states. I worry most about academia and the particular part of academia that is dealing with international relations. WikiLeaks has published over 2 million diplomatic cables. It is the single largest repository for international relations of primary source materials, all searchable. It is the cannon for international relations. It is the biggest dog in the room. There has been some research published in Spanish and in Asian languages. But where are the American and English journals? There is a concrete explanation: They act as feeder schools for the US State Department. The US association that controls the big five international relations journals, the ISA, has a quiet, official policy of not accepting any paper that is derived from WikiLeaks’ materials.

SPIEGEL: Let’s talk about politicians. Why have politicians — who had to learn, thanks to WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, that their phones are tapped and their emails are read by English-speaking spies — reacted in such a timid, slow and lame way to these revelations?

Assange: Why are they playing it down? Angela Merkel had to look tough because she didn’t want to be seen as a weak leader, but I reckon she came to the conclusion the Americans aren’t going to change. All that US intelligence information is very valuable for the German foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst. Please imagine for a moment the German government complains about being spied on and the Americans just say: Okay, we will give you more stuff, which they have stolen from France. When the French complain, they get more stuff, which was stolen from Germany. The NSA spends a lot of resources obtaining information, but throwing a few crumbs to France and Germany when they start whining about being victims costs nothing, digital copies cost nothing.

SPIEGEL: If it worked like that, it would be utterly embarrassing for the German and the French governments.

Assange: It’s sad. It seems like German politicians think this debate makes us look weak and creates conflict with the Americans. So we better play the surveillance issue down. If you knew as a German politician that American intelligence agencies have been collecting intensively on 125 top-level politicians and officials over decades, you would recall some of the conversations you had in all these years and you would then understand that the United States has all those conversations, and that it could take down the Merkel cabinet any time it feels like it, by simply leaking portions of those conversations to journalists.

Vir: Der Spiegel

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